Lady Busters topple No. 1-ranked Hutch.
Lady Busters topple No. 1-ranked Hutch.
By ADAM HOLT
By 11 o'clock Wednesday night, the only remainder of the evening's events was a section of broken bleachers at the bottom of the student section at the Perryman Athletic Complex's gym.
The bleachers took a pounding during the night, and didn't get any help when the crowd rushed the floor following the Garden City Community College women's basketball team's 64-62 overtime upset of undefeated No. 1 Hutchinson.
"I thought that we showed a lot of grit, I thought we showed a lot of toughness," GCCC head coach Alaura Sharp said. "They opened it up to seven at times, they opened it up to eight at times. I thought we really battled and kept ourselves in the game."
Garden City (21-3, 7-3 KJCCC) trailed most of the game, but won because it was the tougher, grittier team. The Lady Broncbusters got steals, hustled after loose balls and were clutch at the free-throw line, going 24-of-27.
"We hustled a lot," sophomore Tamara Jones said. "We prepared for this game. We just got blown out by Butler. That's no excuse. But, we come out, we know what we have to do, we come out hard, excited; No. 1 team in the nation, like coach Sharp said, they don't get beat very often. We've got the chance, we have the opportunity to beat the No. 1 team in the nation tonight."
""We just stayed with it," Sharp said. "We played gritty. And I think our toughness won it in the end."
Point guard Mikell Chinn hit a pair of free throws with five seconds left in overtime, after getting a rebound off a Hutchinson (23-1, 9-1) miss, to put Garden City up 64-62. The Dragons called a timeout at halfcourt with 2.4 seconds left, and Chinn got her hand on the inbounds pass to knock it away, preserving the win.
"Late-game situations, we didn't do a very good job of taking care of the basketball," HCC coach John Ontjes said. "I didn't get them in position to win it. We hadn't been in many late-game situations, and we made critical mistakes. But this game will help us down the road when we get into the postseason."
GCCC battled back from as much as a nine-point deficit, and found itself down, 55-52, with 30 seconds to play in regulation. Jones was fouled by Aja Sorrells while taking a long 3-pointer with 19.4 seconds left, that went off the backboard, then rattled around the rim before missing.
Three free throws, three makes. Tie game.
"I just knew I was gonna make that shot," Jones said. "If it woulda went in, it woulda been more wild than what it was. They fouled me even though I missed, I was proud that I still made those three free throws to make us go into overtime."
The Dragons turned the ball over after the free throws, and after a held ball gave the Busters possession, Deni Jacobs missed a layup that would have won it in regulation.
Jones had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead Garden City, while Jacobs added 17. Both went 7-of-8 at the line, and Chinn had 11 points, including 7-of-7 free throws.
Sorrells and Jasmine Patterson led Hutchinson with 12 points apiece, while Chrisstasia Walter had 11.
There were plenty of chances for the Busters to falter. Garden City went down by eight points early, but battled to a 32-29 halftime deficit. The Busters racked up six fouls in the first four minutes of the second half, and Jones had to sit on the bench for most of the middle portion of the half. But Garden City stayed within striking distance by for the most part, limiting turnovers and taking their time on offense to limit Hutchinson's possessions.
"Being able to have more possessions by taking care of the ball limited their offense, and allowed us to keep them below 70, which is what we needed to do," Sharp said.
By halftime, Perryman was as full as it's been in the past year, and a raucous student section provided plenty of noise down the stretch for Garden City.
"We couldn't have done it without the gym," Jones said. "Because they were getting us hyped, we were getting hyped. They really helped us a lot."
Garden City fell out of the polls Wednesday from No. 11, making Hutchinson's first loss of the season to an unranked team.
The chance to take down No. 1 doesn't come often. Following through with a win is even more rare, making it a special night for the team and the program.
"This is the greatest feeling ever," Jones said. "It's just a game, but the fact that it's the No. 1 team makes it that much better."
"We all knew, walking into this game, that we were going to win," Chinn said. "And you know what? We won."
Box score in Scoreboard, Page B2.